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Should the US sell its best tech to allies at discount?

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posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 08:54 PM
There are certain allies that most would agree can be trusted with some of America's more advanced weapons systems. Australia, Britain, and possibly Japan all stand out. I would be more wary of selling to nations which might funnel it to rivals- France and Germany come to mind in that catagory, as do non-aligned nations such as India.
The problem is that most nations can't even afford the hardware we produce in sufficient quantity.

What I wonder is this: Would the cost of subsidizing a small discount on some of our hardware outweight the cost of maintaining forces abroad to protect our allies, and allow us to have a few extra units at our disposal if we should enter a major conflict with the help of our allies.

A few examples:
The F/A-22 is perhaps the most lethal combat aircraft in the world today. Its presence in a nations arsenal could make potential aggressors think twice, and could make an early difference in conflicts America would otherwise have to involve itself in. In a major conflict it would be a precious assett, but we can only afford so many. The unit cost is $256 million if we procure 279 of the aircraft, and the recent discussion of only buying 180, with an option for more later, drives that further up.

Should we be helping our allies afford this equipment in small numbers to make them more potent in their own spheres of influence, and when they must aid us?
Personally I'd be thrilled to see Japan pick up a few of these for self defense purposes, so that we would not have to fret so much about tensions between them and China causing us to have to go to war some day in the future.

Other equipment I'd like to see us share with worthy allies who may need it include:
Virgina class subs: Definately a boon for the Australians considering where their defense interests lie. South Korea could also use these to build a capability for intelligence gathering and special ops against the North- they need the capability to beat the North at their own game when it comes to infiltration and sabotage if a war should break out.

OICW (SABR) talk about an expensive piece of equipment. We need to bring the unit cost on this baby down as far as possible if we're really going to go with it. The target cost is $10,000! It's just a matter of engineering- there isn't much in the way of super-sensitive technology on this thing, and it is supposed to be VERY VERY effective. Even one of these in an infantry squad would greatly increase the squads effectiveness in urban situations. I think we need to push these on every member of NATO, and also on allies which may one day have to go at it with China (because it's range of 1km would be a huge advantage to defense in the open against an enemy which can bring severe numbers).

So what say you? Who can America trust with its technology, and is it worthwhile enough to offer them incentives to buy it so that our own forces are under less demand?

posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 10:08 PM
There are items within each countries inventories that are simply exclusive to thier respective nation.
The F/A-22 is one of them. The JSF will be the aircraft that will be given out to trusted allies.
As for the unit costs of the aircraft, this may be of interest:

The first Raptors cost about $185 million per copy, excluding research and development, and planes in the most recent production block cost about $130 million apiece, Lockheed reports.

Each new Raptor lot has cost an average of 13 percent less than its predecessor, and the company thinks it can cut production costs even farther — perhaps even pushing the price tag near $110 million, said Loran Bodnar, the senior manager of F/A-22 final assembly for the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics plant in Marietta, Ga.

Lockheed Cuts Price of Raptor.

As for the Virginia class, same. This would go along with the Seawolf class, as well. The US has not even given out the specs and designs for the Nimitz and Enterprise class carriers.

As for the OICW, not a problem. I can see this being utilized by trusted allied nations.


[edit on 21-8-2005 by Seekerof]

posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 09:29 AM
Well I'm sure britain would love to share tech.
I mean we are practicaly your closest ally...

posted on Aug, 25 2005 @ 08:17 AM
To be honest, Britain is the only one I trust with some of our more advanced technology.

But otherwise I'd prefer to keep the newests stuff to ourselves, otherwise our rivals can obtain crashed aircraft and such too easily. I figure Britian is probably the only one close enough to us (not geographically speaking) and advanced enough for us both to keep track of all the advanced hardware. Then there's France, they're good allies but they seem to have the tendancy to sell things to countries we invade a few years later.

So personally, I trust only Britian with our F-22's. That being because the British have been absolutely awesome allies to have for many many years. That and the whole British military is so well trained I think they're responsible enough to handle such hardware as an F-22 or a laser system.

The JSF's on the other hand are made for export. The F-35 when it's out we could sell to any of our allies, and a few nations who we get along with like India.

[edit on 8/25/2005 by cyberdude78]

posted on Aug, 25 2005 @ 08:23 AM
You would not even trust Australia? I think next to Britain, America has few allies as steadfast as our friends down under. Considering that access to their homeland is controlled by sea, in fact by a chain of islands even, that in the event of a conflict, however unlikely, their ability to project air and naval power would be vital to deterring or quickly winning a war that could otherwise require American and British assistance. Specifically I believe that Chinese and/or Indian interests may one day reach as far as Indonesia, and at that point Australia will not be quite as well insulated as they might prefer.

posted on Aug, 25 2005 @ 08:28 AM
Hmm.... I guess I forgot about Australia. Sorry to all the Aussie's out there.

Australia is generally quite nice to us, and I suppose that they're in a location were they may need advanced US air and naval technology. Hmm..... Trade a Seawolf for some of those metal storm guns?

posted on Aug, 25 2005 @ 03:21 PM
Somehow I doubt the Aussies will buy a Seawolf. Mighty expensive hardware there. I wouldn't be shocked if they wanted a couple of LCS in ASW configuration though when we get those things built.

posted on Aug, 26 2005 @ 05:12 AM
Vagabond I think the idea of selling US military hardware at discount prices to loyal allies sounds great but I have some doubts.

America already hold back some of its "secrets" when it sells hardware to its allies.
If I buy a prouduct cheap it is usually of low quality and is missing "functionality. "
So what "functionality" will be missing from the discount hardware?
So is a discount really worth the money saved?
I dont think so anyway where possible countrys like Australia should develop there own tech that works best in there back yard.
One of the good things to come out the Aussie presence in Vietnam was that diggers had some of the best equipment surely there a lesson to be learnt from this?

Having the latest American military hardware dosnt automatically mean you have a better military. Hardware is only as good as the training the personal under go but thats another story.

[edit on 26-8-2005 by xpert11]

posted on Aug, 26 2005 @ 08:19 AM

Originally posted by xpert11
If I buy a prouduct cheap it is usually of low quality and is missing "functionality. "

Suppose we buy 50 Littoral Combat Ships. Then the contractors says they can lower the unit price by 5% if we buy another 10. So we buy 10 more, and sell the additional 10 to Australia at a 20% discount. That 20% discount only negates 80% of what we saved on our 50 ships- we still saved 1% of the cost on our ships, brought additional business to an American shipbuilder, and armed an ally with first-rate hardware that could come in handy if we ever have to go to war in the Pacific.

Functionality doesn't have to suffer because what we are doing is exploiting the principle that a business will lower prices if it brings greater sales and increases total revenue.

I dont think so anyway where possible countrys like Australia should develop there own tech that works best in there back yard.

In general that's not a bad idea, but stuff can get very expensive. A new design obviously is more expensive than another unit of an existing design. Then if you don't build frequently enough, businesses can't just hang around waiting for you to make another order. The United States from time to time builds ships it entirely need just to keep those businesses open for when we need them. For example, according to the CGO, if the United States scrapped the LCS and DDX programs, we'd have to build 2 destroyers just to hold our shipbuilders over until we had a new project for them, and release a new class of frigate by 2009 to preserve the R and D work already done for LCS and DDX.
Australia may not be doing that in all areas- there are likely some areas of defense in which it would suit Australia best to share with allies.


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